WHO-EMRO, MoH hold PulseNet Laboratory workshop

MUSCAT: The Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO-EMRO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) represented by the Public Health Laboratories Department of the Directorate-General of Diseases Control and Surveillance conducted on Tuesday the regional workshop on the Coordination and Capacity Building of the PulseNet Laboratory Network at the InterContinental Muscat.
The workshop was held under the patronage of Dr Sultan Yarub al Busaidy, MoH’s Adviser for Health Affairs, in the presence of Dr Akjemal Magtymova, the WHO Representative in the Sultanate.
Dr Magtymova in her welcome note mentioned the PulseNet Middle East network as well as the objectives of conducting the workshop. She emphasised that the network acts as a rapid alert system for possible foodborne outbreaks through effective communication between public health laboratories of the Eastern Mediterranean and information sharing with PulseNet International network.
Dr Magtymova stated that the meeting aims at reviewing and strengthening the food safety and foodborne disease surveillance, preparedness and response in the member states of the EMR.
A number of 14 countries took part in this gathering including 45 participants from the region and experts from the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), as well as WHO.
The three-day workshop is held with the objective of reflecting on the current status of the PulseNet Middle East operations and challenges that it faces, reviewing and updating network’s governance and management. In addition, it aims at updating national PulseNet focal points on the latest developments in the area of laboratory detection of foodborne pathogens.
During the day several topics were highlighted that included the Strategic Health Laboratory Services 2016-2020, role of laboratories in the national food safety programmes, in addition to the role of laboratory networks in surveillance of high threat pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential in the EMR.
The PulseNet Middle East has played a crucial role in the detection of and response to foodborne disease outbreaks in the region.